With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Hands Off Gretel – Fulford Arms, York – Wednesday 10th July 2019 July 18, 2019


Until now I had missed every opportunity to catch Hands Off Gretel play live, so I had high expectations of this show. Did the band meet my expectations? You’ll have to read on to find out as there were also three other bands on the bill, starting with Witch Of The East. This is the brainchild and solo project of the mightily talented Aeris Houlihan, her sound is heavier than heavy, as grungey as it can get and definitely turned up to 11. Aeris has a blonde version of Marc Bolan’s iconic early 70s hairstyle which allows me to blatantly paraphrase Mr. Bolan and say of Aeris, “She ain’t no square with her corkscrew hair”. Her guitar playing is exquisite and her vocals are really special. Her singing voice is great on the new album ‘Queen Of Insecurity’ but live it goes beyond great. On stage, Aeris was aided and abetted by a drummer that could fit with Motorhead or the Muppets, he was that good! I am not yet familiar with all of Witch Of The East‘s songs, but Aeris gave me a copy of the album so it won’t be long! (Thank you Aeris!). I believe the opening song was “Silence” and my favourite from the set was “When You Fuck Me” which for me was how I would imagine Peaches sounding if she was more metal than electro. Ms. Houlihan made a really stylish and effective crowd incursion towards the end of her set too. I am now a confirmed fan of Witch Of The East and I can hardly wait to see them live again!

Next up was My Wonderful Daze from York, their sound is deep, dark and almost menacing at times. Imagine what band might arise if Florence and the Machine had been kidnapped by DC’s Suicide Squad and the Joker injected them with a mix of a large dose of heavy metal and Kurt Cobain’s DNA. This was not just a simple rock music set it was also a real performance with the band using stage clothes, eccentric makeup and flowing movement to get their songs across. My Wonderful Daze owned the stage for the whole of their set and they captivated a largely spellbound audience. They also keep the punk ethos going by utilising some great stage names (well I am making an assumption that these aren’t their real names) like; Flowers, Eden, and Mr. Jack Sparkle.

As Sirens Fall were the only band without a female member, but they showed true solidarity with the other bands by wearing dresses, well some of the band at least. Singer Mikey Lord I believe will one day become a really iconic frontman. He is highly skilled at engaging the audience and bringing them into the fast lane currently occupied by As Sirens Fall. Mikey has something of Brian Molko about him with some Bowie thrown in for good measure, particularly his powerful on-stage presence. In their five years together the band have released two EPs, both produced by Romesh Dodangoda. Romesh has previously produced Bring Me The Horizon among many others. As Sirens Fall are heavy as hell served with a dash of goth and a shot of punk. They make My Chemical Romance look and sound like Westlife! I can state categorically that As Sirens Fall, have gone straight into my top five live bands! I came to this gig with my good friend Jari, who was here on a business trip from Finland. As Sirens Fall is his new favourite band!

Many bands reach the cusp of greatness but often never make it beyond that, never usually through things that they are able to control. I believe that Hands Off Gretel are about to take one small step for a band, but one giant leap for women in rock. This band has the passion, the skill, and the attitude to take it so much further. I am glad I got to see them at the Fulford Arms, a wonderfully intimate venue. They are surely destined to fill arenas next and who knows where after that. This show came just a few days after the singer and guitarist Lauren Tate’s open letter to the men who come to the band’s shows. It calls out all the misogynistic creeps who sexualise any female in a band or in the audience. What she says is spot on and finally, many more people are taking notice and are ready to do something about this. Ever since I went to my first gig in 1972 and my first festival in 1975 I have loved the camaraderie and care for others in most gig crowds, but sadly there are always exceptions. Lauren was right to call this out and let’s hope it flushes these arseholes out! If you haven’t read her letter yet, you really need to, click here to see it. The band showed great solidarity for this kind of movement. Lauren and Becky, the bass player sported expertly painted on facial hair. At times Becky’s rock god postures were reminiscent of Lemmy in his full-on Motorhead pomp and the added chest hair added to that picture. Guitarist Sean Bon sported a kind of scary red gimp mask, given the heat that night he must have sweated buckets! The band is currently promoting their sophomore album ‘I Want The World’ and most of that collections tracks got an airing tonight. Particular highlights for me were “S.A.S.S”, “Kiss Me Girl” and “Freaks Like Us”. Hands Off Gretel are like a well-oiled punk machine that hits you with grunge licks, heavy riffs, and classy tunes. Lauren’s vocals have been likened to Gwen Stefani before and I get that comparison, but I believe Lauren’s voice is far more at home on the harder, intense styles than Gwen’s might have been. This was a stunning, powerhouse of a performance, the venue was hotter than I had ever known it but the verve and excitement generated by this band drove the heat and energy to molten lava levels. Hands Off Gretel are a long way from their peak but their trajectory is steep and seems driven by the power of a Saturn V rocket. If you haven’t yet seen them, sort yourself out. You will not be disappointed! I would love to hear your thoughts on any of the bands in this review.

Witch Of The East – Pic was taken on my cheap Android phone

Public Service Announcement: All pictures, apart from the gig poster and the pic of Witch Of The East were taken by John Hayhurst of Snapagig (a.k.a this generations Mick Rock)! All videos were sourced from YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please let me know.

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“Saturday” – The Receivers March 15, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:13 pm
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STOP PRESS – UPDATE – the excellent video for “Saturday” is now below and click here to find this future classic on Spotify!

I have received a very tasty sneak preview of “Saturday” the new single from one of York’s finest bands the Receivers. It will be available on streaming sites from Friday 22nd March. I urge you to check it out when it is released. It is a punchy, exciting track with a harder edged indie sound and a feel of classic late 70s post punk like maybe the Motors. The soaring vocals on the chorus slide into your brain like a fish-hook after a couple of listens and believe me this is one metaphorical fish that is not going to be thrown back into the river. The musicianship is first class especially the distinctive guitar melodies, shapes and jangly riffs.In a perfect world this song would be all over the airwaves, but this is not a perfect world, but if any radio stations want to prove me wrong on that score then go ahead. Nick, Alex, Harry and Louis (a.k.a. The Receivers) are a tight band that are clearly passionate about what they do and I can see this release really helping to put them even more firmly on the map. I had the pleasure of seeing these boys live at the Fulford Arms back in January, click here to read that review. The single release will be supported by a short spring tour, get yourself a ticket now, that is an ORDER!

While you are waiting click here to check out some of their other great stuff on Spotify.

STOP PRESS – UPDATE – the excellent video for “Saturday” is now below and click here to find this future classic on Spotify!

 

 

Faux Pas – Fulford Arms, York 28th February 2019 March 8, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:49 pm
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Does anyone not love the Fulford Arms? You don’t well come and see me and let me educate you. This place is an awesome small, intimate venue where a fabulous range of great acts play. On top of all that the staff are a fab bunch too! Tonight the headliners in a show promoted by Under The Influence were the rather fabulous Faux Pas. But more about them later, first to take the stage were Pura Vida (my research tells me that this means pure life or simple life in Costa Rica) a northern powerhouse of a band from Yorkshire. It is just over a year since I last saw them play live and they are still incredibly difficult to pin down to a single genre. Tonight I had a great post punk vibe from them sprinkled with some Factory Records fairy dust. Some of the guitar work was reminiscent of John Squire at his Stone Roses peak they also performed an excellent cover of the Cure’s “Love Song” and they have some great self penned songs too. If you set out to not like this band you would fail, so don’t even try immerse yourself in a pure and simple life with the music of Pura Vida.

Next were the staggeringly talented Lost Trends from York. Why the hell are this band not absolutely huge? They had a few months sabbatical but they are back with a bang that could be measured in megatons or on the Richter Scale. Their new EP ‘Time’ is a finely honed gem. Not many bands are able to combine the indie style with hard-hitting funky dance floor anthems while maintaining a punky attitude. One of the many things that I love about Lost Trends is that wherever they are on the bill and whoever else is playing they rock the stage as though they are the headliners, they never hold back. They treated the crowd to a towering version of “Time” which is a tune you have to move to, Peter Knaggs guitar on this track alone would run the Edge close. The highlight of their set for me was a floor shaking attack of one of their slightly older songs “DJ”. This is perhaps the fifth time I have seen them live and I hope it won’t be long before that runs in to double figures.

Now for the electrifying headliners Faux Pas, I first saw them late last year when their single “Shame” had just been released. They have a never-ending supply of power and energy. Ru Cowl is perhaps one of the finest front men around at the moment. While his image may draw on a punk ethos he is a complete original. The summer dress, badly applied lipstick and the word RUNT scrawled across his chest can only be pulled off by someone with courage and of course talent. Without talent it would be all image, but FauxPas have talent in abundance. Apparently the literal translation of Faux Pas from French to English is ‘false step’, as for Faux Pas the band there is nothing false about them, they are most definitely ‘4 Real’. This show is part of a tour to promote their current single “TV Made Me Paranoid”. The song builds from a slow almost menacing start into something akin to Placebo on steroids. If they are playing your town make sure you’re there, that’s an order!

 

Wild Front – Fulford Arms, York – Tuesday 29th January 2019 February 7, 2019


Another night of Northern Radar fun was upon us. some bands I have seen before and some that are new to me. This is often the case when the talented Mr Pattinson puts a show together. I have been to many, many Northern Radar shows and Simon has not let me down so far. Will this gig at the Fulford Arms be the exception to that rule? Read on to find out dear reader. I should mention that this was a very important night in many ways, we were celebrating Independent Venue Week and the Fulford Arms would be visited by real radio royalty, Steve Lamacq! A bit more about him later, let’s get to the bands first. Taking the stage first in an already rammed venue were the delightful Neon Salmon, a great band that I saw quite recently. This is the bunch that wear Kimonos and fairy lights and they do that with style. I get a sense of the fun side of Edwyn Collins with Neon Salmon and also the quintessentially eccentric British sound of Stackridge. The latter struck me early on and was perhaps quite pertinent given that the Salmon boys bravely, skilfully and very successfully covered “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes”, a 1979 hit by the Korgis. Where is the pertinence in that? Well Any Davis and James warren were former members of Stackridge when they formed the Korgis. Neon salmon showed their skill at putting together jazz fused funky sounds with some supreme Flugelhorn overlay. On top of that you cannot deny that “Smoked Mackerel Cat” comes close to drowning in its awesomeness. They even had the audience moshing and crowd surfing, which is no mean feat in a small venue like the Fulford Arms. Get your arse of your sofa and take yourself along to see Neon Salmon, you will be properly entertained.

Cowgirl took to the stage next, they are hard bluesy with a whiff of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club about them. They have a perfect blend of garage punk and 60s slacker surf rock sounds. Vocally you can imagine this might be what Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground might sound like if they were much younger and were formed now. Since the show I have checked them out on-line “You’re Not There” and “She Picks Me Up” are great songs. I would pay to see Cowgirl again they have the perfect sound for a small, packed, sweaty venue like the Fulford Arms. Cowgirl are what the Kings Of Leon might have become if they still gave a shit!

There were four bands on tonight and the third of those was Flooded, now that is a somewhat risky name for a York band, but who cares they are a tight band that could use music to roll back a deluge. I believe that this former three-piece have added a new front man to their ranks and it was a great move as this dude has a fabulous voice. “Butterflies” is a stupendous and classy song, the crowd loved it. Flooded are a band that is abundant with wonderful contradictions; hard punky garage, jangly indie and some deceptively heavy riffage. Is it me getting older or are bands just getting younger? This lot is like a bunch of baby-faced Rock Assassins. You need some Flooded in your life.

Tonights headliners were Wild Front all the way from Southampton and Andy, Josh, Jack and Mike smashed it. Their songs are emotionally driven anthems which stick with you long after the gig high starts to fade. “Make You Feel” is like a Beach Boys Stone Roses coupling but with much better vocals. This is a band that knows their stuff the musicianship is 100% spot on and the soaring vocals and harmonies take you to wonderful places. Wild Front are destined for much greater things I am sure. This is truly beautiful music from an absolutely stunning band. All the bands tonight were very, very good but Wild Front were simply the classiest band on a very classy night.

So what about Steve Lamacq? Well I had a chance to chat with him briefly while he talked Mr Pattinson and me through his journey into music. He is a proper top bloke as, of course, is Simon Pattinson who put this show together. So yes it was another great show from Northern Radar at one of York’s best gig venues. Support your Independent Venues people, they are the real lifeblood of the music scene!

 

The music force is strong with these two!

Public Service Announcement – All the photographs, apart from the gig poster, were taken by me on my rather snazzy new Canon camera. All the videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for me to take it down please give me a shout.

 

The Receivers – Fulford Arms, York – Tuesday 8th January 2019 January 15, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:58 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

A new year and my first Northern Radar gig of the year. Simon “Northern Radar” Pattinson never lets me down with his shows, did this one measure up? Read on to find out. Azera were first on, they have some really great and some ‘alright’ (their words) songs. They covered the Pixies and smashed it and smashed it again with a brave and brilliant cover of Radiohead’s “Just”. Some might say that a band with a singing drummer might be a bit of a novelty, not me though. This bloke is an ace sticksman with a bloody marvellous voice. I am not sure what their closing song was called but honestly if you closed your eyes you could almost imagine that it was Nirvana on stage.

The driving, punchy, punky riff fest that is the Silvertones were next up. This lot are in possession of some incredibly melodic and very, very rock sounds, especially in the vocal department. I felt that they were reminiscent of some of the finest post punk, new wave power pop from the late 70s, the Motors spring to mind. I also felt the influence of Blur’s Graham Coxon in some of the guitar hooks. The Silvertones are definitely a band to watch out for.

Tonights penultimate band was Neon Salmon, oh boy what a band! If you like your rock funky, jazzy (but not jazz funk), psychedelic a bit C86 and a bit Orange Juice then this lot are definitely for you. I blooming well love them! Their stage gear included kimonos and fairy lights which made them seem like a vision of Del Trotter at bedtime! Thank you to Simon P for that line 🙂 neon Salmon are the epitome of a good time party band. It looked like they were absolutely loving it. The chocolate fish prize for the most enthusiastic dancer was ace and was awarded to a very worthy winner too. This band deserves great success. Anyone who has a song called “Smoked Mackerel Cat” must be good, right?

Headliners were another great York band, the Receivers. This lot doesn’t only have balls, but a huge talent as well. The lead singer was sporting a Smiths T Shirt but they are so much happier and smile bringing than that miserable old sod Mozza is these days. Their sound is a bit grungey, a little jangly indie and has added all out rock vibes. They are an incredibly tight band and it felt like they were really well rehearsed. The guitarist never stopped moving and even made a couple of forays into a highly enthusiastic crowd. Their rapport with the audience was classy. “Rimshot” is a magnificent new song and despite the introduction I doubt that it is actually about pleasure in the nether regions.  Personally I wouldn’t have fancied following any of tonights support acts, but the Receivers didn’t think that way as they blew the roof off the Fulford Arms during the venues fifth birthday week.  Calling the Receivers in has always seemed so negative, but I would be very happy to call this lot in!

Public Serve Announcement: apart from the gig poster all the pictures are by me and taken on my rather spiffing Canon camera which was a birthday present for my birthday on January 1st (if you must know I am now 20 with 40 years experience) Also this is my first attempt at gig photography, please be gentle with me 😉

 

Percy – Fulford Arms, York – Wednesday 19th December 2018 December 20, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:33 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My last gig of 2018 was an appearance by York’s own PERCY off the back of their rather spiffing new album ‘Sleepers Wake’. I had the pleasure of reviewing that LP last month, just click here to see what I thought of it. But before I say any more about Percy I should tell you about the blooming bountiful support bands they put on the bill. Firstly it was Freek from Hull and York. This mightily talented duo blast out some stupendous blues based rock which for me is rooted in the best that old school rock had to offer; Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the Yardbirds and Cream. On top of that they have a kinship with grunge and punk too. But I would love to know where Ellis Best’s monumental voice comes from. Freek also have an innate sense of fun which is epitomised in their closing song “Killer Moth” which is about……. a killer moth! The Rems were next up featuring three of Pompey’s finest musicians, including Steve ‘Bodge’ Duffield one of the founders of the sublime Beta Band. I felt so much eclecticism in their sonic assault which was blended with some perfect post punk vibes. Vocally I could hear tones of Joe Jackson in his pomp and even the much maligned Tin Machine. The latter was particularly strong on the jagged, punked-up “Pills”. The Rems are the sort of band that leaves you wanting more after the first time you have seen or heard them (and probably after the second, third and fourth time too). I definitely want to hear more from them!

Freek

the Rems

Tonights headliners Percy are now at Percy Mark 3 having formed originally way back in 1996. They took a break in 2005 and spent a couple of years as the Nielsens before becoming Percy again. Colin Howard on guitar and lead vocals and Andy Wiles on bass and backing vox have been the core of the band since 1996. They are now aided and abetted by Paula Duck on keys and Jason Wilson on drums. One thing that seems obvious about Percy is that they really seem to enjoy playing and they are a tight unit in the live environment. Any act that can succeed in a small but fabulous venue like the Fulford Arms has to have some special magic about them and Percy have an abundance of it. If you were a fan of Mark E Smith you will love Percy, but while they might be influenced by the Fall they are refreshingly original. Their songs are all brilliantly told stories (“Alice Stone”), simple vignettes on life (“Off The Meds”) or fury venting political comment (“Why Are You Still Here?”). It was a great set that found the perfect cadence from the off and never dropped in either pace or quality. Particular highlights for me were the grungy quiet  to loud and at times Pixies-esque “Hep” and the venomous put down of Brexit and all the lies that surround it, “Unicorn”. If you have never seen Percy live then you are in for a treat when you do. This will most definitely not be my last Percy gig!

Public Service Announcement: – All photographs (except the gig poster) were taken and edited by me using my cheap android phone from China. (Watch this space for some top classy photos from me next year!) All videos were found on YouTube. If one of the videos is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be taken down please let me know.

 

Eugene Gorgeous – Fulford Arms, York – Wednesday 28th November 2018 November 30, 2018


Sometimes I really need to psych myself up to go out to a gig on a week night, especially a Wednesday. But a gig hosted by Joe Coates (Please Please You) and Simon Pattinson (Northern Radar) ought to make it worth it and frankly it was well worth it! It was also great to catch up with the top bloke that is Dan Lucas, head honcho of the wonderful Boss Caine. First up was a sneaky set from one of York’s best bands, Skylights. A good opportunity for a final live show before their showcase headliner at the Brudenell in Leeds the following day (a review of that show will be heading your way very soon!). Often bands on first play like they are a support band, but Skylights blew that one away. They smashed into this like they were headliners. They were magnificent from the opening bar of “Life Line” to the loud feedback driven end to “Reverb”. Obviously “YRA” was amazing, but tonight “Britannia” stole the show for me. This was a  band totally ready to bring the house down at the Brudenell at their next gig.

Next up it was Liverpool’s the Mysterines. I must confess that I was not sure of that name, but once they start that becomes irrelevant. The noise they create is some of the best rock music that you will ever hear. The pace never slows down and “I Just Love To Hate You” is possibly one of my new favourite songs. Lia Mysterine’s voice has the passion of Patti Smith, the punk attitude of Joan Jett and the cheeky glam tone of Suzi Quatro. With a drummer channelling the spirit of Keith Moon and the Muppets Animal, alongside a bass player that provides a deep thudding underlay the Mysterines are destined to go far.

The headliners tonight, Eugene Gorgeous, should be the subject of some work by the world famous Pete Frame of Rock Family Trees fame. The singer’s brother is a part of Bull and tonight the drummer was Harry from Black Lagoons and the collective has representation from other bands too. The simplest way to describe them would be eclectic, but even that doesn’t do them justice. For me they have a lot of prime Lou Reed period Velvet Underground about them but then they put that aside with an incredible cover of Aretha’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in which they don’t change the gender, which makes it work even better. This is the first time that I have seen them in more than two years and the VU came up in my description of them back then. I said “imagine if you will the Velvet Underground meeting the Jesus and Mary Chain at a dive bar in Twin Peaks.” well I believe that description still stands .Vocalist Paddy Beer is like the EverReady bunny fuelled by energy drinks and milk! If you love music then you cannot dislike this mightily talented bunch. I don’t think any of them are actually called Eugene but they sure as hell make the most gorgeous noise! If you haven’t caught up with Eugene Gorgeous yet then I suggest that you get yourself acquainted with them immediately!

Public Service Announcement: – All photographs (except the Eugene Gorgeous name tag) were taken and edited by me using my cheap android phone from China. All videos were found on YouTube. If one of the videos is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be taken down please let me know.

 

 
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